To Gela, after another mishap - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

April 7, 2019

To Gela, after another mishap

Maybe Licata is just not our kind of town.  It began with the fiasco on our way in yesterday, when Rachael did her best at trying to ruin her derailleur.  The fun continued this morning, when we biked off with the keys to our B&B, something we thankfully have not done for a long time.  We discovered this when we were four miles our of town, after stopping to shed a layer before staring on the first climb of the day.

Under different circumstances, we might have planned on just mailing the key back from our next stop.  Today though, we’ve only biked 4.23 miles so far, we had a short ride anyway, it’s not raining, and the ride so far has been mostly flat.  No good excuse not to bike back except to avoid biking through Licata itself again, which isn’t up to Marsala’s standard for bike unfriendliness, but is no picnic either.  Besides the usual congested streets, suddenly opening car doors, erratic drivers pulling halfway into the street before slowing to look around, there’s a risk I haven’t seen before - drivers sitting in the car with their arm held out the window, holding glowing cigarettes in your path and flicking their ashes your way.

Licata does get credit for having a bike lane on their Main Street though.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesIt would be nice if you could actually use it though.
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Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYes, but we appreciate the thought.
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So, I’m not that keen on biking through this scene a second and third time and am looking for a bit of an excuse.  I ask Rachael to call our hotel, so we can confirm that Kate is there and will still be around if we come back.  She answers, but has some difficulty understanding what I’m saying and even registering who I am even though chiave (key) is in my Italian lexicon.  I tell here we’ll be there in trente minute, and we head back.

About trente minute later, we arrive back at Grangela B&B.  I ring the doorbell, but there’s no answer.  I try again, and then it occurs to me that I have the key in my hand so I just open the door and leave the keys prominently placed on the staircase inside.  Back at the bikes, we call the lady up again to explain what we’ve done.  She still sounds a bit confused, then asks where we are and says she’ll be right down.  Finally it occurs to me to ask if this is Grangela.  Nope.  I have no idea who we’ve been talking with, but it’s a wrong number.

So, hopefully using the phone more effectively we email Kate an apology and explanation of what we’ve done, and bike off again.  Almost immediately we pass Kate driving the other way, returning home.  She stops, we enjoy a good laugh at our expense, and we continue on our way.

The view of Licata from our room at Grangela B&B
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Rachael with Kate, our warm hostess at Grangela B&B
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So does anyone know what these trees in Licata are? Their leaves make me think of a live oak.
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Bill ShaneyfeltIf it is an oak, it might be an evergreen oak. If you poke around the root area you might find old acorn shells if it is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_ilex
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI could, but then I’d have to bike through Licata again. Three times was enough.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanTo put that woman over the top with confusion maybe dial up that wrong number and ask her what kind of trees are in her town.
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Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanWhat a great idea! I tried that, and I think she said they were cork oaks. Or maybe she was just cursing - it was hard to be sure.
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About four miles from our room we come to the start of the day’s first climb. It’s fairly warm this morning, so we stop to shed a layer first. Just after taking his photo, I yell at Rachael to stop - I found the keys to our B&B in the pocket of my outer jersey when I took it off.
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Fortunately Rachael heard me yell, and stopped here. In the distance we can see Licata.
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One nice thing (well, actually the only nice thing that comes to mind) about returning to Licata is that it gives me a second chance to stop for a photo here.
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Bruce LellmanIt was worth it then.
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1 week ago

That’s it for compelling stories and adventure for the day though.  Nothing dramatic happens on the ride itself, other than just the fact that we’re passing through the most glorious cycling country you can imagine, on a stunning day with a fine tailwind most of the way.  Between two unpleasant miles in Licata (times three) and two more in Gela at the end of the day are about the best thirty-six miles I can recall riding anywhere.  I’m not going to try to describe them.  Just look.

One really last look back at Licata before we cross a ridge and drop down on the opposite side.
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Rachael stopped by the side of the road to wander off in the weeds and step in the mud. While she was busy cleaning her shoes off I saw my chance and dashed out ahead of her.
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Can there be any place better to bike than this? We’re seeing an average of one car per hour.
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So one thing that could have improved the day would be a bit of video. Soon! We (hopefully) will pick up the new GoPro mount tomorrow at our hotel in Caltagirone.
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Pretty colorful wall, but then it’s pretty colorful everywhere you look.
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Not a bad spot to stop for lunch.
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Just a hillside and shed.
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There are hundreds of viaducts like this on Sicily’s newer highways, spanning deep canyons and cutting miles off the twisty route taken by the older roads. We usually avoid them and take the older roads because the viaducts look too scary, but Rachael pointed out that the highway is virtually empty today. She was right - the overpass was fine.
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Approaching Gela at the end of the ride. This photo demonstrates why it’s so great to get into the interior rather than follow the congested coastline. Bike two miles away from the sea and you ascend into cycling heaven.
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We had a very nice fish dinner in Gela, but let’s look at my after dinner coffee instead of just another dead fish photo. I used to think these tiny cups were just silly, but I’m developing a taste for them. A nice little jolt for just a euro.
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Ride stats today: 44 miles, 3,300’; for the tour:  328 miles, 18,800’

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 318 miles (512 km)

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Sue PriceSuch beautiful scenery! Another addition to the ever growing bucket list!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Sue PriceIt’s pretty phenomenal, alright - especially at this time of year. You really should check it out, but be ready for some hills. Also, come early and come in spring.
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